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The 50 Most Innovative Companies 2011

Computing & Communications

Public Companies

Apple

Why: The rest of the consumer electronics industry is scrambling to catch up to the iPad. The iPhone still sets the standard for smart phones, even if its market share slips.
Key innovation: Its limited lineup of mobile devices all run on the same east-to-use software.

ARM

Why: It is redesigning smart phones and tablets so that they'll use much less power and need recharging less often.
Key innovation: Developed energy-efficient customizable chips for mobile devices.

HTC

Why: Smart phones that run Android have become an alternative to Apple's mobile devices.
Key innovation: Designed well-crafted devices in partnerships with Google and wireless carriers.

iRobot

Why: Robots can save lives by doing jobs too dangerous for people.
Key innovation: Its small, agile robots can detect and dispose of explosive devices for the military.

Private Companies

Calxeda

Why: Its technology can reduce the cost of computing in data centers.
Key innovation: Runs servers with cell-phone chips rather than processors built on industry--standard designs, which are more power-hungry.

IBM

Why: Computing can transform infrastructure such as electric grids and traffic control systems.
Key innovation: Is drawing on its research expertise and that of software companies it's acquired to develop services for many infrastructure industries and expand the market for information technologies.

Lyric Semiconductor

Why: Computer chips that operate with probabilities instead of binary logic could speed applications such as fraud analysis and machine vision.
Key innovation: Its microprocessor uses electronic signals to represent probabilities rather than binary 0s and 1s.

PrimeSense

Why: User interfaces based on gesture recognition make possible new applications in gaming and everyday computing.
Key innovation: Developed the 3-D sensor system that Microsoft's Kinect device uses to track movement.

Square

Why: Expanding the use of mobile payments will help small businesses.
Key innovation: Built technology that lets anyone accept credit cards using smart phones.